Doug Currie - custom

More P.E.I. youth going to Portage in New Brunswick for addictions treatment is something Health Minister Doug Currie wants to see happen. (CBC)

The P.E.I. government is close to working out a deal with the Portage addictions treatment facility in New Brunswick that would see more Island youth sent there, says Health Minister Doug Currie.

Last fall the legislature's standing committee on health recommended the province enter into a multi-year partnership with the facility. Currie said the province now has a potential agreement in hand.

"We've had more formal conversations with Portage. They have presented the department with a proposal to look at more capacity and more volume," he said.

"Obviously there's a budget connected to that, so we're in discussions right now with Health PEI. They've been directed to look at it. That is something I want to see happen."

Currie said even if P.E.I. enters into an agreement to send more young addicts to Portage, that doesn't mean the province won't eventually develop its own residential treatment program, something there have been repeated calls for.

Chief Mental Health and Addictions Officer Dr. Rhonda Matters is in the midst of a comprehensive review of mental health and addictions services on the Island, and a potential residential facility is part of that review.